Seoul: South Korea’s military deleted its reference to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as an “enemy” in the latest defense white paper amid a rising peace mood on the Korean Peninsula.
The reference to the DPRK government and military as an enemy of South Korea was deleted from the 2018 defense white paper, which was published Tuesday by Seoul’s Defence Ministry.
Instead of the deletion, the white paper, which has been published biennially since 1967, said South Korea’s military regards forces threatening and infringing upon the country’s sovereignty, territory, people and assets as an enemy.
The paper noted that though South Korea and the DPRK have had repeated confrontation and reconciliation in the past, the two Koreas held summit meetings three times in 2018 while the first-ever DPRK-US summit was also held last year.
It said those summit meetings created a new security environment to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula and build peace.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un met three times last year, agreeing on ways to defuse military tensions and prevent accidental clashes.
The military authorities of the two sides set up buffer zones in the air, waters and land near the inter-Korean border, while disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA), where armed soldiers of the two Koreas stood face-to-face in the past, and destroying some guard posts inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on a trial basis.
Adding to the inter-Korean peace mood, the DPRK leader and U.S. President Donald Trump held the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore in June last year, agreeing to complete denuclearization of the peninsula and normalized relations between Pyongyang and Washington.